30 hours free childcare and tax-free childcare

Is your child eligible for a 30 hour place from September 2018 and not accessing a place already? If so apply before 31 August 2018 in order to get your code for next term. Are you getting a 30 hour place already? Don't forget to log on to your childcare account to reconfirm your code or you will lose your place.

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If you’re a working parent, you can apply now for two new government childcare schemes Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare.

This video from the Department for Education shows what parents think about the new 30 hour free childcare.

You have until 31 August to apply and get your code if you want your child to access a place from 1 September 2018 however we strongly advise you to apply for your code NOW in order to get your code in time for next term. Codes must be dated the 31 August 2018 or before for a 1 September 2018 start. You need to set up your childcare service account through www.childcarechoices.gov.uk to apply.

You can apply through the new digital childcare service if you have a child under 4 on 31 August 2018 for 30 hours childcare or 0 to 11 years for tax free childcare or under 17 if your child has a disability.

To apply visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

If you have any questions re the code you have received from HMRC or any other questions about correspondence from HMRC please give call HMRC on 0300 1234 097.

If eligible for Tax-Free Childcare you’ll receive a government top-up of £2 for every £8 that you pay into your Tax-Free Childcare account.

More information on the government’s childcare schemes is available from www.childcarechoices.gov.uk which also includes a childcare calculator to find out how much you could receive. Our frequently asked questions section will also answer any questions you may have.

Frequently asked questions

What is the 30 hours childcare entitlement?

In September 2017 the Government introduced a new childcare entitlement which allows working parents to get up to 30 hours of free childcare a week during term-time.

Previously, every 3 and 4 year old child is entitled to 15 hours free childcare during term-time. The new entitlement allows working parents to claim a further 15 hours of childcare.

The number of free hours are based around term-time weeks. Parents can use the entitlement all year round but their child will receive fewer hours. For instance, your child could receive 30 hours for 38 weeks a year, or 22.8 hours for 50 weeks.

A child is eligible for the new entitlement the term after their 3rd birthday.

Childcare is a great way for your child to make new friends, learn new skills and have fun.

Who is eligible?

The extended entitlement is for working parents. This means that both parents have to be working, (or the sole parent needs to be working in a lone parent family).

Each parent needs to earn on average a weekly minimum wage equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) (for under 25 year olds) or national living wage (if over 25 years old). This means you must be earning currently at least £125 a week each.

Even if you are on a zero hour contract you can apply for a place as long as you expect to be earning at least £120 a week. A working parent can be employed or self-employed.

Those earning over £100,000 or more a year would not be eligible.

Foster carers are only eligible for the extended entitlement for their own children (if they meet the criteria). They are not eligible for children they foster.

You are also eligible if both parents are employed but in one of the following circumstances:

  • one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave or statutory sick pay
  • the parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
  • one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

HMRC determines if a parent is eligible not the Council.

The existing entitlement to 15 hours childcare will continue to be available to all parents, regardless of working status or income. If you are not eligible for the additional 15 hours your child will still be able to get the free 15 hours of early education which all 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to.

Parents can also apply for free childcare for 2 year olds if their family is eligible.

Where can I get the additional 15 hours?

If your family is eligible, you can access the additional hours for your child at one or more of these providers:

  • day nurseries
  • childminders
  • pre-schools
  • primary schools
  • independent primary schools
  • nursery schools
  • out of school and holiday clubs.

The provider must be registered with Ofsted as an Early Years provider, as for the existing 15 hours of childcare. You can access 30 hours during term time or fewer hours all year round, and you can use the additional hours at more than one childcare provider. For example, your child could go to a school nursery every morning and then to a childminder in the afternoon.

If your child already attends a childcare provider (including out of school clubs and holiday clubs) or a school nursery ask them if they are offering 30 hour places.

Once your child starts in school reception they would not be eligible.

Will my child’s provider offer the additional 15 hours childcare?

Bradford Council is consulting with childcare providers, primary schools and nursery schools on who will be offering places. Not all providers will offer places as the Government has not made it compulsory for providers to offer the 30 hours childcare.

Do I get 30 hours free every week?

The 30 hours is for 38 weeks of the year during term-time. However, if you need childcare all year round and your childcare provider is able, they can ‘stretch’ the offer over the year. This means you have fewer than 30 hours free hours each week but will still have the same total number of hours each year.

Does my child have to take up the full 30 hours?

No. It is up to you to decide how many additional hours you want your child to access.

How do I apply for a place?

Parents and carers with children under the age of 4 can check with HMRC whether they are eligible and apply online now using https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ or by phone 0300 1234 097. Parents with older children can also receive email alerts about tax free childcare and when to apply for 30 hours using the same link.

You will be asked to set up a childcare service account in order to set up your own unique secure account before you get to the tax free childcare section and 30 hour section..

Parents will need to reconfirm they are still eligible for the entitlement every three months through their own childcare service account or by phone.

Can I access a place as soon as I know I am eligible?

The Council must make sure that a child has a place no later than the start of the term that follows the child and the parent meeting the eligibility criteria. You should check with your childcare provider when you can start to access the additional hours.

Can providers ask me to pay for additional services in order to access the 15 hours?

The Government funding is for free, high quality, flexible childcare. It is not intended to cover the costs of meals and other consumables or to cover additional hours or services that parents choose.

Providers can charge for meals and snacks as part of a funded entitlement place and they can also charge for consumables such as nappies or sun cream and for services such as trips or yoga. These charges must be voluntary for the parent.

Where parents are unable or unwilling to pay for meals and consumables, providers who choose to offer the funded entitlements are responsible for setting their own policy on how to respond. Options may include waiving or reducing the cost of meals and snacks, or allowing parents to supply their own meals. Providers must be completely clear about any additional charges that parents may need to pay. Providers may charge parents a deposit to secure their child’s free place, the deposit has to be refunded in full to parents within a reasonable time period.

What if I lose my job?

There will be a ‘grace period’ so a child can continue with their childcare place and you have time to look for work. The ‘grace period’ will allow you to retain your childcare place for a short period if you become ineligible for the extended entitlement. Parents and providers will be informed when the grace period will end.

What if I am not eligible now but become so in the future?

Parents can complete the online application and check eligibility at any time.

How many children are eligible in Bradford?

The Department for Education estimate that about 3,750 children will be eligible in Bradford. This is around a quarter of all 3 and 4 year olds in the district.

How will I be kept informed?

Updates will be put on this website, Parents on the Go blog, Bradford Council Facebook and Twitter feeds, through local employers and lots more. Parents can also receive email alerts about tax free childcare and when to apply for 30 hours using this link https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

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